According to numerous recent studies, Americans suffer from an epidemic of loneliness. The cost is high because people who experience these feelings are often unhappy, which results in eating a less nutritious diet and getting inadequate exercise, leading to more illness.
“Clear and compassionate self-awareness can help break the [loneliness] cycle. By strengthening your relationship with yourself and perceiving yourself with honesty and caring, you can shed light on what you might be doing to maintain an uncomfortable state of loneliness.” ~Psychology Today, September 2020
Why is loneliness so pervasive today? Here are a few possible contributors:
- We avoid our feelings – constantly on devices that distract us from our emotions, preventing us from dealing with them.
- We fear what we’ll learn and experience if we stop running and get quiet.
- Our families are separated by miles, years, and values.
- We live with a lack of self-awareness and self-care.
So, what’s the answer?
Self-awareness is one solution to loneliness because it helps lead us to self-love. Your soul urges you to “Go within to find your joy.” With joy, the loneliness usually fades.
To help you get started, do a bit of research. The subject of self-awareness is popping up everywhere. I’ve noticed in recent months how many related articles I’m seeing without even looking for them. I found an excellent one in “Positive Psychology: What Is Self-Awareness (+5 Ways to Be More Self-Aware).”
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness is the ability to monitor and see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection. Through self-examination and without judgment, we journey within to discover the truth of who we are.
This realization can be challenging. I know because that’s been my journey for a few years now.
I often must send my inner critical judge away as she argues for limiting beliefs, always emphasizing where I have the most work to accomplish.
How does self-awareness combat loneliness?
As we begin to acknowledge our goodness intentionally, we feel more confident and worthy and less likely to fall into despair and feel alone. Few of us need to give equal time to recognize our weaknesses; that happens automatically.
How can you build self-awareness?
Numerous resources exist to kickstart your exploration of self-discovery. One assessment that I particularly like is GallupStrengths, which unveils your Top Five Strengths. I have personally utilized this tool for years, both in my self-reflection and in my coaching practice. Clients often express that the results genuinely resonate with their individuality.
During an interview, Arianna Huffington expressed that loneliness encompasses more than simply lacking close friendships. Loneliness also involves feeling disconnected from one’s essence, making it significantly more challenging to establish connections with others.
Here is a practical tip to use if you feel lonely or want to become more self-aware.
DECIDE to take one small step forward. For example, send a text or mail a card to someone you haven’t seen in over ten years. How does it feel? HUGE. Reframe it as being brave.
How does self-awareness benefit you?
When we build more self-awareness, the greater our influence on outcomes, the better decisions we make, and the better we can communicate clearly.
With better self-awareness, we’re no longer confused or unsure of ourselves and our patterns and beliefs. We now know who we are, what makes us tick, and how to use that knowledge to live more fulfilled lives. And, in the end, isn’t that what most of us seek?
Take yourself on a journey of self-discovery. Tap into the joys in your life, exploring whether they might still bring you joy. Release self-judgment by acknowledging your wisdom. Explore the possibilities. Godspeed.